Youth Leadership Advisory Team (YLAT)

YLAT is a joint project between Maine’s Youth in Foster Care, The Maine Department of Health and Human Services, and the Muskie School at University of Southern Maine. YLAT is committed to improving the short-term and long-term outcomes for youth who are or have been in foster care.

YLAT, Muskie School of Public Service, University of Southern Maine, PO Box 9300, Portland, ME 04104-9300, phone: 207-780-5861

Leader Talks

These Leader Talks were presented on June 25th, 2015 in front of over 150 youth and alumni of Maine’s foster care system and adult allies. Each presenter speaks to a personal change and journey and how it is connected to the larger change within the child welfare system. The presentations are heartfelt and inspiring.

Shannon Heath has been involved with many aspects of improving the child welfare system for youth, their families, and care providers. Shannon’s pioneering efforts as a youth leader led to the development of Maine’s Youth Leadership Advisory Team (YLAT).

Dianna Walters was one of the earliest members of YLAT and has spent many years involved with child welfare reform efforts in Maine and nationally. Currently, Dianna works for the Annie E. Casey Foundation and her focus is to improve policies and practices for older youth transitioning from foster care.

Kesha Shelton became involved with YLAT in 2004 as a young person on the V9. Kesha has continued her involvement as an Alumni co-facilitators of the Bangor YLAT group. Kesha is committed because YLAT promotes a safe environment for young people in care to come together and make a difference.

Shawn Packard recently connected with YLAT and has spoken at many panel presentations to educate others about the needs of youth in care. Shawn is committed to helping others, and has overcome his own hard past.